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June 1, 2010
May was a busy month for new FaceBook healthcare-related ads ... well, at least it was on my FaceBook profile. The ads that stood out the most were the EpiPen ad (the 1st Canadian pharma FaceBook ad by King Pharmaceuticals) and the Ontario's Community Pharmacies ads (16 versions of the ad throughout the month). Previous posts on FaceBook healthcare-related ads that targeted my FaceBook profile can be found here, here, here, here and here.
May 18, 2010
Most people think of social media as a marketing tool, but it can be useful to achieve all sorts of objectives, including lobbying. The Ontario's Community Pharmacies have leveraged several social media tactics for lobbying purposes, and they are focusing on mainstream sites. If you live in Ontario and have visited your FaceBook profile during the months of April and May, there are good chances that you would have noticed an ad stating that 'Your Pharmacy is at Risk'. In fact, during this period, I noticed at least 15 different versions of this ad. The copy was always the same, but the image was different. See all the ads that appeared on my personal FaceBook profile and ad board below; On May 17, I noticed a similar ad, but with a more dramatic header: "Danger for Local Pharmacy". I only saw this ad once and it seemed to have disappeared thereafter, having been replaced by the ads with the original header. I only saw this particular ad once, as the ads appeared to have quickly reverted back to the original header. In fact, all of the ads seemed to have disappeared completely sometime during the week of May 17th. When you clicked on the ads, they linked to StopCuts.ca, a website by Ontario’s Community Pharmacies (which, by the way, contains a lot of similar content as what appears on the official Ontario's Community Pharmacies website). The website, and associated social media tactics (RSS, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and several methods to contact the government), were initiated as a strategy to counteract the threat of governmental cuts to community health care. This post is not meant to promote nor discredit the strategic objectives of the lobbying campaign, but rather to look at the social media components that make up the campaign. Ontario's Community Pharmacies has a rather popular FaceBook page, with 14,892 fans (`likes`) as of May 25 2010. The FaceBook page seems to be rallying a lot of support from pharmacists and consumers ready to lobby the government. The wall of the page is loaded with comments from supporters providing each other with tips and resources to assist with the lobbying activities and events. The group also has a Twitter account with the username "ONPharmacies", which has 325 followers and is listed 8 times as of May 25 2010. The discussion and chatter is constant and abundant on the FaceBook page, but it seems to be non-existent on the Twitter account. There is a hashtag for #stopcutsdotca, but when you look at the real-time usage of this hashtag, it seems to be almost solely used by the ONPharmacies account. This could be because Canadians, in general, have lagged in the adoption of Twitter. And finally, there is a YouTube channel which boasts 31,346 views of all their videos since the channel was created on January 10 2010. According to a quick calculation, there have been approximately an average of 265 views of the Ontario Community Pharmacists' videos on a daily basis (but I'm sure there were peak periods when large lobbying activities were taking place, and lull periods in between). To find out if Ontario's Community Pharmacies had any blogger outreach as part of this campaign, I searched IceRocket.com's blog section to see if there were any blogs that either mentionned the organization's name, or linked to the StopCuts.ca website. This search demonstrated that during the months of April and May, 9 blogs had covered a story that either included the organization's name or linked to their website. The low number of blogs that included an article about the organization, as well as the fact that the blog posts ranged within a 2-month period, suggests that there was no active blog outreach as part of this campaign. This may have been a supportive tactic, but I think the group's outreach has been very effective on FaceBook and YouTube, therefore they are probably better off to continue focusing on these two venues. The one question that I am left with is whether most followers and fans of the Ontario's Community Pharmacies' groups are pharmacists and their employees, or whether there is a large consumer group rallying behind the Ontario's Community Pharmacies in support of their cause. Based on the type of comments written on the FaceBook wall, my guess is that it is the former (but this group may just have been the most vocal). Either way, it is amazing to see a bunch of people who feel very passionately about a topic gather and communicate together in an open online forum. Stay in touch, Natalie Connect with me on the following networks: FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn —————————————————– To ensure that you receive all new updates to this blog, insert your e-mail address in the box in the top-right corner. Your e-mail will remain private and will not be shared with any third parties.
May 13, 2010
A brave Canadian pharmaceutical company has taken the plunge and is giving FaceBook direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising a try. King Pharmaceuticals has been promoting its EpiPen.ca website via the following English and French FaceBook ads: The call-to-action is to take the allergy risk test, but it appears as though the main objective of the site itself is to introduce the new EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (0.3 and 0.15 mg epinephrine) Auto-injectors ("EpiPen") to Canadian consumers and healthcare professionals. Both the FaceBook ads and the site are DTC advertising. Although King Pharmaceuticals launched the new EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors on April 14 2010, I first noticed the FaceBook ad on Monday May 10th 2010. Of course, it is possible that the ad was launched sooner and that it just came to my attention later. Can a prescription Rx brand copy this social media model? EpiPen falls under “ethical pharmaceuticals” in the regulatory system. However, it is not a schedule F product (prescription required for sale). Therefore, section c01.044 of Canada's Food and Drug Regulations Act (which limits pharmaceutical DTC advertising to only product name, price, quantity) does not apply. To promote a prescription product (Schedule F) in a FaceBook ad (DTC), only the product name, price and quantity would be allowable because it is a public direct-to-consumer placement. Since the PAAB approves campaigns as a whole, this would also apply to any website that the FaceBook ad would link to. For more information about Canadian regulatory requirements for prescription products promoted in social media, see Highlights from “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada" or contact Patrick Massad at the PAAB. If you are interested in learning more about Canadian regulatory guidelines for other types of healthcare products, you might like this article. Is this the first Canadian pharma ad on FaceBook? As far as the ads that I have seen on my personal FaceBook profile, this is the first one that I have seen from a Canadian pharmaceutical company. There may have been others. I might have missed them, or perhaps I was not part of the target market for the ad. So unless somebody tells me otherwise, I do believe that this is the very first branded FaceBook ad by a Canadian pharmaceutical company. In fact, I have not seen an unbranded FaceBook ad by any Canadian pharma companies. I you know of others, then please share in the comments section. Is the FaceBook ad driving traffic to the EpiPen.ca website? Since the EpiPen FaceBook ad seems to have the objective of driving unique visitor traffic to the EpiPen.ca website, it is reasonable to track traffic to the site as an ROI measurement. As an outsider, I will use data from Alexa and Compete. The following data and snapshot were taken on May 12 2010:
- Alexa traffic rank as of May 12 2010 is 1,562,812
- Alexa traffic rank in Canada is 27,244.
- 1,177 monthly unique visitors to the website in February 2010.
April 12, 2010
In October 2009, Roche Diagnostics launched a Canadian social site called Accu-Check Diabetes Link. Despite a rather clean and simple look, there appear to be several opportunities within the site to influence the user's experience. There is the site itself, which encompasses;
- a blog: You can subscribe to the blog via RSS or e-mail. You can also share the blog articles, but you cannot add comments.
- links to various diabetes online resources: "What we're reading",
- diabetes news from online sources: "In the News",
- a widget called 'The NEST' which helps diabetes tweeps stay in contact with one another and even introduce themselves to the diabetes community on Twitter. The NEST widget can easily be shared and posted anywhere online. It was created by Ignite Health, Incendia Health Studios.
- as well as product and corporate information (see tabs at the top of the home page "Accu-Check Products" and "About").
April 5, 2010
I just had my 2nd baby boy. He's beautiful, healthy, and seems to be always hungry. His big brother, who is a bit over 2 1/2 years old, is happy, so far, with the new addition to our family. With this exciting event in my life, I thought it might be an opportune time to focus on an important topic for new Moms; online support groups for new Moms with postpartum depression (PPD). Most of the online networks that I have found are simple community discussion forums, therefore I will not go in depth on any of them. Some statistics to get us started:
- According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 10-15% of women experience PPD, often detected within 2-6 weeks after the birth of their child.
- CAMH goes on to state that PPD is the most common complication of child-bearing.
- 2/3 of women polled by the Mommy network MomsLikeMe.com (poll date: March 1 2010) believe that PPD is underdiagnosed.
- Our Sisters' Place (OSP), based in Toronto, is "a program of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario that provides support to women who are dealing with problems related both to mood and to hormonal changes, throughout the life cycle. This includes feelings like depression, anxiety, and psychosis, and events like puberty, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, menopause, and post menopause." As part of their website, OSP hosts an online forum for discussions regarding PPD. As part of my research on the topic, I discovered that the Canadian Mental Health Association, Sudbury / Manitoulin branch links out to this online community. Perhaps other branches do as well, but this is the only one that came up as part of my search.
- The Postpartum Stress Center, based in Pennsylvania, "specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety disorders." As part of their services, they also host an online community for support. Partners and family members are encouraged to participate in the online discussions as well.
- The Online PPD Support Group, based in the U.S., focuses solely on PPD. They also host online discussion forums for PPD patients. When you click on the "Peer support e-mail list", you get sent to a Yahoo! Health Group which faciliates online support for PPD.
- The Post Natal Illness / Post Natal Depression group seems to be by far the PPD group on FaceBook with the most members, and they are active on the Wall as well.
- Postpartum Depression Recovery and Postpartum Depression for Dummies both appear to be pages managed by Dr Shoshana Bennett PhD. The content seems a bit repetitive from one page to the next, but there seems to be more fan activity on the PPD Recovery page.
- The Postpartum Depression Awareness is a group that requires membership approval. I'm still on the waiting list, so I have not been able to check out the content as of yet. Same for the Postpartum Support International group. As I was double-checking my links, I noticed that the links to the two groups mentioned above go to the FaceBook sign in page. This might be because the groups are by approval only. If you are interested in these groups, you might want to just do a search for them when you are in FaceBook. Sorry for the inconvenience.
- Two examples of general medical sites providing online support for PPD patients include the Mayo Clinic and HealthBoards. The Mayo Clinic's website hosts a variety of resources to help women with PPD, including a Mayo Clinic blog on depression written by a psychiatrist, with some of the topics focusing on PPD. The HealthBoards Message Boards site which covers a wide range of topics, including PPD.
- Two examples of general parenting online communities hosting a forum focused on PPD include iVillage and What To Expect.
- "Keep in mind some people prey on vulnerable individuals they meet online."
- "Be aware of the possibility people may not be who they say they are, or may be trying to market a product or treatment."
- "Be careful about revealing personal information, such as your full name, address or phone number, to strangers online."
- "Make sure you don't let extensive Internet use lead to isolation from your in-person social network."